How Can I Redo My Kitchen Countertops Without Replacing Them? 4 DIY Hacks To Know

Kitchen renovations are a long process, but these ideas will help you get a new countertop with less of the upheaval

A kitchen with a marble countertop
(Image credit: Sarah E. Elliott. Studio credit Branca and Co)

One of the largest surfaces in the kitchen, the countertop not only adds functional value but also majorly influences the look of the room. If you're tired of your old, inherited countertops and want a change, you don't need to call your designer or contractor just yet necessarily. Kitchen counters can be renewed without replacement.

To give you some ideas, experts have helped us put together some useful DIY alternatives. Take a look at these modern kitchen ideas and find out how to have a brand-new counter in no time.

1. Add tiles on top

A kitchen counter with white tiles and red grout

(Image credit: sdelaemremont)

'Using small tiles can add a playful touch to your kitchen countertop, making it feel unique,' says Kashi Shikunova, director at Yam Studios. 'However, they require a sturdy subbase, especially if the countertop is wooden. Ensure it's level, clean, and capable of supporting the additional weight of the tiles. Additionally, keep in mind that the grout is susceptible to staining, so choose a grout color that hides stains well. Regular deep cleaning of the grout will help maintain a fresh appearance.'

'I love to use machine-made or hand-made glazed tiles, sometimes in assorted colors and I like to extend them onto the backsplash too,' says interior architect Cormac Lynch.

Glazed ceramic and porcelain tiles can be stain- and heat-resistant, and can be installed directly on top of old counters. If your counters have the space to accommodate a little extra thickness, it's best to start with a layer of 1/4-inch cement board glued to the countertop, and then place the tile over that.

2. Update with contact paper

A kitchen with a white laminate sheet on counter

(Image credit: Reena Sotropa In House Design)

'Homeowners today have multiple choices and a variety of colors and options for counters,' says Vinithra Amarnathan, founder of Weespaces. 'White contact sheets as kitchen countertop material bring in the large, airy, and bright look to the kitchens. We also like the use of softer neutral tones like beige and grey that bring in a hint of color and warmth to a kitchen.'

Make sure you measure your counter well before you cut the sheet. Remember, while measuring take into account the edges so your sheets need to be cut perhaps an extra inch longer. Contact paper can mimic the look of marble, granite, or wood, thereby decorating kitchen countertops with fresh color and texture. These are available in rolls, with a waterproof side and a sticky backing covered with a protective film.

3. Paint the counter

A kitchen with a marble countertop

(Image credit: Sarah E. Elliott. Studio credit Branca and Co)

If you want to give your marble, wood or linoleum countertops a more detailed look, consider painting them. For marble kitchen counters you could paint a detailed veining by hand, and then later coat it in epoxy. To make the DIY marble countertop look more realistic, choose various paint colors and textures.

'Some people just use one color of grey for the veins and they turn out great,' says furniture artist Joni Bond of Barn Chic Designs. 'However, I wanted to show more depth in my countertops so I mixed some paint to create different shades of the same color. I used a sponge to create stippling before I started working on veins, as this helps give depth and achieve that authentic marble look. I also had a picture of real marble that I loved and tried to replicate that look or design.' 

5. Go for a countertop refinishing kit

A minimalist kitchen

(Image credit: Lichelle Silvestry Interiors)

The countertop refinishing kits are tailor-made for DIYers, and the results are fantastic, as they give humble worktops such as laminate, formica, or wood, a more elevated look. The Rust-Oleum Countertop Transformations especially can create the look of granite and even decorative color chips that give the new surface the look of natural stone.

Before you decide to redo your counter, make sure you check if the kit is compatible with the countertop material you have. To use this kit, you'll need to clean the countertop, and then sand it, removing the dust. You'll need to add a base coat, and a top coat for a finished look.

3 products to update the countertop

Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.